cu in small-block V8
hp per liter
(from General Motors
Press Release) REGGIE JACKSON’S 1969 CAMARO – A MODERN MUSCLE
CAR SHOWCASING GM PERFORMANCE PARTS’ NEW LSX ENGINE FAMILY
LAS VEGAS – With a potent, 641-horsepower, a new LSX-based
454-cubic-inch small-block V-8 and the classic looks of the 1969
Camaro, legendary baseball player and ardent car collector Reggie
Jackson has a muscle car as strong as his World Series batting
record. Jackson partnered with GM Performance Parts (GMPP) and the
GM Performance Division (GMPD) to build a one-of-a-kind modern
muscle machine that serves as a developmental showcase for GM’s new
LSX family of performance engine components.
The powerful LSX 454 small-block engine is backed by a heavy-duty
six-speed manual transmission and a sturdy 12-bolt rear axle with
3.91 gears. Additionally, Jackson ’s Camaro features a host of
custom features, including a scorching red hue derived from the
Camaro concept vehicle, contemporary suspension upgrades and a black
leather interior with baseball-stitched upholstery.
“Reggie’s Camaro is a great collaboration that represents the latest
in power from GM Performance Parts and the style of today’s
multi-use muscle cars from GM Performance Division,” said Lisa
Reffett, marketing manager for GM Performance Parts. “Reggie’s
participation was instrumental, as he helped guide the design of the
Camaro and even helped build the engine with racing legend Warren
Buildup of the Camaro will be featured on Hot Rod TV on ESPN this
March, with footage shot of the car’s build, engine assembly at
Warren Johnson’s shop, a tour of Jackson ’s collection, testing at
the GM Proving Ground in Milford , Mich. , and more.
“It is an exciting car and was an exciting project to be involved
with,” said Jackson . “GM was involved in every stage of the
buildup, so this is very much a ‘new-old’ Camaro built to OE specs.”
Inside the LSX from GMPP
The 454-cubic-inch small-block V-8 in Jackson ’s Camaro is based on
GMPP’s new LSX Bowtie Block cylinder block and other engine
components. The cast iron LSX block was designed for the creation of
high-horsepower, large-displacement engines based on GM’s Gen IV
small-block engine architecture. The iron block enables engine
builders to use traditional displacement-enlarging techniques to
create large-displacement small-block engines of 500 cubic inches or
more. The LSX block is also designed with a thick deck and strategic
cast-in strengthening features that support high-horsepower
supercharged and nitrous-oxide combinations.
Jackson helped build the engine with famed NHRA racer Warren
Johnson, who was instrumental in the development of the LSX block.
For the Camaro, a simple but effective combination employing a
single four-barrel carburetor and carefully matched cylinder head
and valvetrain components was employed.
The cylinder heads are prototype LSX heads, which are derived from
the LS7 7.0L engine found in the Corvette Z06. They feature six head
bolts rather than five, for increased cylinder head sealing – an
attribute that builders of supercharged engines will appreciate.
Bridging the LSX heads is a new GM Performance Parts four-barrel
intake manifold designed to match the rectangular ports of the LS7
head. The manifold is already available from GMPP, allowing
customers to run a carburetor on LS7 crate engines. Atop the
manifold is a Holley 850-cfm carburetor.
An ignition driver is all that’s required to change from stock-type
EFI to carburetion, and Jackson ’s engine uses a custom MSD Ignition
driver that is designed for GM’s Gen III and Gen IV V-8 engines.
With the ignition driver connected to the distributorless ignition
system, the ignition timing is automatically set at start-up.
The bottom end of the engine uses a Lunati rotating assembly with
forged parts and Mahle pistons that combine with the LSX heads to
deliver a pump-gas-friendly 11:1 compression ratio. A custom-grind
camshaft was sourced and Comp Cams supplied the remainder of the
At Warren Johnson’s dynamometer facility, the LSX engine produced
641 horsepower and 611 lb.-ft. of torque. More than the peak
numbers, however, is the engine’s Kansas-flat power band. The engine
makes 520 lb.-ft. of torque at only 3,000 rpm, with torque rising
steadily throughout the rev range.
“The engine makes a mountain of torque at just about any rpm,” said
Johnson. “The best part is this isn’t an exotic combination. It was
put together with off-the-shelf parts that either are available now
or will be shortly through GM Performance Parts.”
In other words, it’s a combination that is easily reproduced as the
family of LSX parts and engines grows.
To complement the power packed into its 454 cubic inches, the LSX in
Jackson ’s Camaro was dressed with powder-coated accessories and
custom rocker covers. The engine retains a classic look at first
glance, but a second look reveals the individual coil packs and
other features that identify it as a 21 st-century small-block.
Stainless Works fabricated a custom exhaust system, including
Drivetrain and suspension details by GMPD
The LSX engine in the Camaro is backed by a beefed-up Tremec T56
six-speed manual transmission. It is equipped with a heavy-duty
clutch to stand up to the engine’s considerable torque, channeling
it via a custom aluminum driveshaft to a Detroit Speed &
Engineering-built GM 12-bolt rear axle. The axle is fitted with an
Eaton Detroit Locker Truetrac locking differential and 3.91 gears,
which turn strengthened axles that are connected to 18-inch
custom-design Budnik rear wheels and Goodyear high-performance
rubber. Matching wheels and tires are found up front.
To give the Camaro the agility and cornering capability enabled by
the wide rolling stock – and spurred on by the 641-horse 454 engine
– the engineers at GMPD had to harness the power. To do that, the
front and rear suspension were replaced and updated with components
from Detroit Speed & Engineering (DSE). Founded by former GM
engineers, DSE offers a coil-over-shock front suspension system that
replaces the first-generation Camaro’s original setup. It includes
tubular control arms and Koni monotube shock absorbers. It was
adapted to Jackson ’s Camaro, giving the car the driving reflexes of
a modern sports tourer.
At the rear, a DSE “deep tub” kit is employed. The QUADRA Link rear
suspension, with Koni coil-over shocks, allows the mounting of a
narrowed rear axle. A narrowed axle was needed to make room for the
nearly 12.5-inch-wide rear tires. But even with the ultra-wide rear
treads, grip is all too easy to overcome when calling up even a
small bit of the LSX engine’s deep well of torque.
Matching the modern handling is an aggressive, four-wheel disc brake
system from Brembo. It features large, cross-drilled rotors at all
four corners, with four-piston calipers in front and four-piston
calipers in the rear.
“With the suspension and brake upgrades, this vintage Camaro handles
and stops like a new Corvette,” said Jackson .
Classic looks, inside and out
Although its engine and underpinnings are thoroughly modern, the
silhouette of the car is pure vintage Camaro. Jackson pulled the car
from his 100-plus personal car collection and, with the help of GMPP
and GMPD, it was restored and transformed. And while it looks like
an all-stock Camaro body, several subtle changes were made to
enhance its appearance. The bumpers, for example, were brought in
closer to the body, for a smoother, tighter appearance.
The front-end features a 1969-vintage Rally Sport grille, complete
with “hideaway” headlamps. The body also has classic Camaro styling
cues, including a cowl-induction hood and rear spoiler. Other subtle
changes include the relocation of the market lights.
California-based Classic Industries supplied all of the restoration
parts, including new chrome trim pieces.
A bright red color that matches the Camaro concept vehicle was
sprayed by Detroit ’s Trakon Kustoms. A Jackson-signature checker
flag logo is found on the cowl induction scoop and the rear spoiler,
while LSX logos adorn the fenders and taillamp panel. LSX logos also
grace the interior, which melds the classic Camaro look with
The instrument panel is fitted with carbon-fiber-face Auto Meter
gauges, located in housings that mimic the angled gauge placement of
the original ’69 Camaro interior. Also, the original seats were
replaced with new bucket seats from a Cobalt SS. They were
re-trimmed in black leather and feature baseball-style stitching.
Pat Russell, of PJ’s Trim, hand-stitched the seats.
Sports fans know Reggie Jackson as “Mr. October,” the player who
racked up 10 home runs during his appearance in 27 World Series
games – including three homers as a New York Yankee in the deciding
game of the 1977 championship. Off the field, he is a passionate
Chevy muscle car collector, having amassed a large collection of
vintage restored and modified examples. The collection is
continually changing, as Jackson constantly adds to and sells from
the collection. Over the years, he has owned some of the rarest and
finest example of Chevy muscle cars, and his reputation in the
collector car world is renowned.